Earl’s Blanket Chest
By Earl Wojciechowski from Laurel, MD
Added on April 28, 2011
I have wanted to make a blanket chest for our bedroom for many years. I finally felt that my skills were up to the task. The design is based largely on an article from Fine Woodworking (#129) with customizations. I added a curve on the bottom rails to break up the hard horizontal lines. I also added a center piece on the front/back panels to break up the large piece of maple and prevent the maple from dominating the entire piece. Frames are African Rosewood, panels are Soft Maple and I added some aromatic cedar to the inside of the chest.
I used four brass hinges and then added three CPSC approved hinges to prevent the lid from slamming down. The joinery is mortise and tenon. The panels float in between the stiles and rails. I added a cove bead to the ends of the panels to create a bit of a shadow line and to soften the piece a bit. I used a spray finish (Earlex 5000) to spray General Finish. I started with two coats of Seal-A-Cell and finished with four coats of Arm-R-Seal. I sanded between each coat, starting with 200 grit and finishing with 600 before the final coat.
The project took almost 5 months elapsed time and probably around 240 hours of actual work. I made a few mistakes, but also learned how to correct them by watching the videos from Marc. It was a great project. I had fun doing it and have greatly increased my confidence in my woodworking skills. Several family members have asked me to make one for them.